2022 came with a blockbuster-level start when it comes to new anime releases, with heavy-hitters like Attack on Titan season 4, Demon Slayer season 2, and the Jujutsu Kaisen 0 theatrical movie releasing all within the first quarter of the year. But the rest of the year is shaping up to be a dense one all the same with what’s coming up in TV and film, feeling similar to how big the 2019 and 2020 anime seasons were.
This genre has never been more ingrained into the mainstream on such an international scale, and big-name franchises like Dragon Ball, One Piece, and My Hero Academia all lined up to return will ensure that fans will have plenty of anime to chew on throughout the year.
Series creator Akira Toriyama’s Dragon Ball franchise has long since been an anime staple globally, with DBZ specifically being one of the go-to series for when the genre as a whole hadn’t reached the mainstream peak we’re seeing now. Dragon Ball Super was the first canonical TV continuation of Z, and though the show has stopped short compared to the manga, it appears the movies will keep it going into the future.
Broly was a success worldwide, and this year’s Super Hero looks to be another nostalgia trip by involving the original 1980s series’ villainous group, the Red Ribbon Army. And to much fan delight, it looks like Super Hero will give much due respect and spotlight to Piccolo and Gohan.
Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero‘s April release has been stalled, but should release later this year.
The colorfully bombastic anime adaptation of Hirohiko Araki’s JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure manga has lived up to every bit of its wonderfully colorful reputation — and title. The latest season, Stone Ocean, hasn’t disappointed so far. The only thing that seems to be letting down fans is the painfully sporadic “batch” releases of episodes as opposed to weekly, as they’ve only had the first 12 episodes since December 2021.
Nonetheless, the second batch of Stone Ocean episodes has a fall release date where fans can continue Jolyne Cujoh’s stylish prison-break adventures and colorfully violent exploits to save her father Jotaro.
The second part (episodes 13-24) of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stone Ocean will release on Netflix.
MAPPA has worked some serious animation magic with their work on Attack on Titan season 4, Jujutsu Kaisen, Jujutsu Kaisen 0, and more, and it looks like they’re not slowing down anytime soon. Tatsuki Fujimoto’s ultra-violent and surprisingly — and somberly — introspective Chainsaw Man manga finished less than two years ago, and its acclaim earned a sequel manga series and MAPPA’s attachment to animate the first.
The series is almost as ridiculous as the name sounds, but it’s relentless in how willing it is to explore the abyss of depression and loneliness. It’s filled with a thoroughly compelling cast of characters with the depth to match, and fans should be in for an equal part action-packed and emotionally gut-wrenching story that’s refreshingly unlike most other shonen series.
Chainsaw Man is set to premiere sometime in 2022.
In terms of equivalents, My Hero Academia is perhaps the closest to what Naruto achieved in the 2000s and early 2010s. Kohei Horikoshi’s manga and the studio Bones anime adaptation that followed easily garnered the shonen fan following, with the colorful superhero adventures of Deku and the rest of Class 1-A an easy fit for current pop culture trends.
Though it didn’t gain the same warm reception as previous seasons, season 5 set up massive stakes for the upcoming sixth, as the cast of heroes is about to be hit with war from the Paranormal Liberation Front.
My Hero Academia season 6 premieres in October.
The last true survivor of the era of “The Big Three” — One Piece, Naruto, and Bleach — is still going strong in this new decade. Eiichiro Oda’s critically acclaimed pirate odyssey is one of the greatest in the shonen genre, as the series has repeatedly demonstrated its enduring qualities in long-form storytelling and excruciating attention to detail when it comes to character arcs, lore, and worldbuilding.
Despite Oda’s involvement with the movies, they’ve all been deemed non-canonical to the series. However, One Piece: Red is drumming up speculation that this could be the first canon film. The marketing has been hyping up Luffy’s mentor and franchise icon Red-Haired Shanks, along with a new female protagonist.
One Piece: Red releases in theaters in Japan on August 6, with the rest of the world TBA.
Makoto Yukimura’s Viking epic Vinland Saga could be argued as in the same tier as the late Kentaro Miura’s Berserk and Tekehiko Inoue’s Vagabond for greatest manga ever put to pen and paper, and the 2019 anime adaptation gave it a much-deserved share of the limelight.
In terms of story and premise, it’s more in line with the latter as historical fiction but tells an engrossing and emotionally resonant tale of revenge, learning to let go of the past, and what it means to achieve peace in a land and time filled with barbarism. Thorfinn went through traumatic character progression in season 1, and season 2 will adapt one of the most self-reflective story arcs for the conflicted young man yet.
Vinland Saga season 2 has no hard release date but is speculated to premiere sometime this year, with season 1 available on Amazon Prime Video.
After being put on ice for several years, another member of the “Big Three” days of manga/anime will finally get a shot at finishing its story on the silver screen. Tite Kubo’s supernatural action shonen Bleach began to fizzle out towards the final stretch of its anime run, specifically after the sprawling Arrancar arc and climactic Aizen fight, getting cut short before it could adapt the final arc of the manga.
The arc is a controversial one among die-hard fans, but there will just as surely be plenty thrilled a the prospect of the Bleach anime finally getting a proper conclusion, with studio Pierrot spearheading the animation.
Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War premieres in October.
Though primarily known for the beloved satirical superhero manga One-Punch Man, ONE’s Mob Psycho 100 is arguably in the same league. The manga has already finished, but there have been just two seasons of anime adapted. Thankfully, this story is both well-written and concise, so the upcoming and highly-anticipated third season should wrap up the story.
Both seasons have been expertly adapted, with 2 especially being regarded among the fan base as some of the best anime ever produced. Aside from the exceptional action sequences, Mob Psycho 100 is also a genuinely touching coming-of-age tale that explores themes of the damage that repressed emotions can cause, earning every heartfelt moment and use of comedic elements in the process.
Mob Psycho 100 season 3 is speculated to premiere sometime in 2022.